Alva Group Occupational Health and Safety Services

How to Become a Health and Safety Officer

In most South African workplaces, a safety officer is required. Safety officers are one of the most crucial personnel since they ensure that the workplace is a safe working environment for everyone on the premises. In this article, we’ve examined the crucial components of being a safety officer in South Africa and illustrated how an individual can become an occupational health and safety officer.

What is a Health and Safety Officer?

An occupational health and safety officer (OHSO) is a professional service role that provides health and safety advice and direction to a business and its employees, making it essential in the workplace. They have the responsibility of helping businesses lower health and safety concerns.

What are the Responsibilities of a Health and Safety Officer?

Safety officers have a variety of responsibilities that they might carry out as part of an internal team, as independent consultants, or as part of a bigger consulting firm. The following are just a few of the general responsibilities that safety officers may have to deal with on a regular basis:

  • Maintaining compliance with health and safety laws.
  • Creating, implementing, and enhancing workplace health and safety plans, programmes, and procedures.
  • Ensuring adherence to pertinent health and safety laws.
  • Determining the workplace’s training needs in OHS.
  • Conducting risk analyses and safety checks.
  • Investigating accidents at work.
  • Practicing emergency safety management techniques and conducting drills and exercises.

Becoming a Safety Officer

A training course and a certificate from an appropriate professional body are necessary to become a qualified occupational health and safety officer (OHSO). A future career in occupational health and safety (OHS) is the perfect opportunity for someone who doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree but would like to make a difference in the work environment.

What are the OSHO Training Requirements?

Get Recognition from a Professional Body

If you want to join a professional organisation like the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH), you’ll need to have an accredited credential that is at least NQF level 5 or an equivalent, as well as some work experience. Being a recognised member establishes your expertise in your subject and may create opportunities for professional advancement.

Upskill Yourself

Complete a course that will give you a broad overview of the various facets of health and safety law and prepare you to abide by compliance standards in any organisation.

Additional courses in facilities management and labour law could assist you and your workplace by advancing your abilities and giving you the knowledge you need to drive compliance in a variety of industries.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Health and Safety Officer?

A degree may not be necessary, but some certifications are. Although the level of responsibility obviously has an impact, the typical duration of study is between one and five years.

What are Potential Career Paths as an OSHO?

The prospects for an OHSO’s career are quite varied. Due to the scope and complexity of national health and safety regulations, organisations rely on internal experts and outside consultants to make sure their business complies with the requirements.

Health and safety legislation is set at a government level and filters down into every single industry. Businesses will look to you as a specialist in this field for your knowledge and experience, providing you with the option to specialise in any industry of your choice.


A career in health and safety is noble as it is an industry that is focused on the safeguarding of people’s lives and their safety. Doing the job well could influence a person’s life in a positive manner and change their environment. Health and safety careers are high in demand and offer a stable income, making it a great choice for those looking for a stable career. There are many different types of health and safety careers, so there is sure to be one that fits your skills and interests. If you are interested in a career in health and safety, research the different types of careers available and find one that is right for you.

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